Republic of Ireland news

‘No grades cliff edge' for Leaving Certificate 2023 students

Michelle Devane, PA

Education Minister Norma Foley has said there will be “no cliff edge” for grades in next year’s Leaving Certificate.

The Fianna Fáil TD said “very similar” accommodations will be made for the Leaving Cert class of 2023 that were made for this year’s students due to the disruption to their schooling by the pandemic.

“For the class of 2023 I can confirm today that accommodations will be made for them in the exam papers, very similar to the accommodations that were announced in August of 2021,” Ms Foley said.

“That’s an acknowledgement that those students have experienced challenges too, not on a par to the class of ’22 but they have experienced challenges.”

She added: “There will be no cliff edge for the students in terms of grade inflation.”

Ms Foley made the comments in Killarney, Co Kerry, on Friday as more than 61,000 students received their Leaving Certificate results.

Some 58,056 Leaving Cert students and 3,051 Leaving Cert Applied students sat exams across the country earlier this summer.

About half of the grades have been artificially inflated this year to ensure they were no lower than last year’s grades.

The decision was taken following a promise to students to keep the results broadly in line with last year’s grades.

Ms Foley offered her “sincere” congratulations to the class of 2022, describing results day as a moment of “achievement, celebration and success”.

“It’s an enormous achievement for them over what has been very challenging and demanding years for our students,” she said.

“They’ve met every challenge along the way.”

She also acknowledged the “enormous support” students had received from school staff.

“It’s been a challenging couple of years for them too but every step of the way their dedication to the students has been unstinting,” she added.

The results were issued online at 10am on Friday through the State Examinations Commission’s candidate self-service portal.

Some students also received their results in-person at their school.

Jack O’Connell (18) from Portmarnock returned to Catholic University School on Dublin’s Leeson Street where he received the top marks of 625 alongside his former classmates.

“I got 625. I’m over the moon,” he told the PA news agency.

“I thought I’d done well when I did them but you never really know until you open them.”

The written examinations were held between June 8 and 28, while a deferred sitting of the exams was held from June 30 to July 16 for students who experienced close family bereavement, serious injury or illness or on public health grounds due to Covid-19.

The Leaving Certificate candidate helpline, run by the National Parents Council Post-Primary, will be available for students to talk to a guidance counsellor with any queries that they may have.

The helpline will operate from 2pm to 8pm each day from results day until Wednesday September 14.

It can be contacted on 1800-265-165.

The State Examinations Commission candidate helpline will also be available for queries relating to the self-service portal and the services.

It can be contacted on 1800-111135 or 1800 111136 from 10am to 5pm from results day until Monday September 12.